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Many people are more satisfied with their health care if they share the responsibility with their doctors. Your doctor is an expert on medical care, but you are the expert on yourself. Often there is more than one option for diagnosing or treating a condition.
By being a partner with your doctor, you can help choose the option that best fits your values, beliefs, and lifestyle. You also will feel more confident about carrying out the chosen treatment.
Here are some tips for being a good partner with your doctor:
Let your doctor know that you want to be a partner in your health care. Tell the doctor what your expectations are.
Listen carefully to what your doctor says. If you do not understand a diagnosis or treatment, ask questions. And tell the doctor if you think that following the prescribed treatment will be hard for you.
He or she can take notes, ask questions to clarify information, and help you remember what your doctor says.
If you take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal remedies or vitamins, bring all of them with you to any appointment with a doctor. If you cannot bring the medicines, bring a list of the medicines that you take.
Before you leave the doctor's office, make sure you know what you are supposed to do to care for yourself. Ask for written information, links to videos and websites, and any other instructions.
Call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Let your child know why he or she is seeing a doctor and what will be done during the visit. Your child's age and developmental level will determine how best to prepare him or her. And ask your older child if he or she would like to speak to the doctor alone. Teens may be more willing to talk about topics such as sexuality, mental health, and drugs or alcohol if they know they can have time on their own with their doctors.
When you prepare for each visit, it helps your doctor give you better care and helps both of you make the most of the visit. Here's what you can do:
Different types of appointments
Medicines and health history
Here are some questions you can ask when talking with your doctor about tests and treatments:
After your doctor visit, write down:
Follow the instructions your doctor gave you, including filling a prescription, scheduling tests, or making another appointment. Call your doctor if you still have questions or if there is anything you do not understand.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems or symptoms that concern you. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety.
Update the medical records that you keep at home, including new test results and medicine changes.
Current as of:
March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Catherine D. Serio PhD - Behavioral HealthAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Catherine D. Serio PhD - Behavioral Health & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
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